Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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FCC to Allow Auction Entry for Coops

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has ruled that coops can have access to Connect American Funds (CAF), which are meant to promote broadband in rural areas.  The FCC agreed, at the NRECA’s suggestion, that coops may satisfy the auction program’s technical qualifications by providing evidence of their capabilities to operate transmission or distribution systems.  The...

Cooperative Finance Corp. Fights for Authorization to Issue Letters of Credit

The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. (CFC) continues to seek an exemption under the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Broadband Experiment allowing it to issue letters of credit to its own members and those of an affiliate, Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative.  However, because CFC is not a depository institution, it cannot receive the required FDIC...

Call (Un)Answered (the Second Ring): FCC Issues Sweeping Package of Declaratory Rulings on TCPA Petitions

In some of its most comprehensive guidance published in years, resolving more than 20 petitions requesting clarification of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 10 published a 138-page Declaratory Ruling and Order.  Given the opportunity to add much needed clarity and reason to the TCPA, which has spawned thousands of class...

FCC Issues Its Widely Anticipated TCPA Order. Has the Call Been Answered?

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its 138-page Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Order resolving more than 20 petitions for clarification.  According to the FCC, the Order “will benefit consumers and good-faith callers alike by clarifying whether conduct violates the TCPA and by detailing simple guidance intended to assist callers in...

NRECA Argues Cooperatives Should Qualify for FCC Broadband Funds

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has provided comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Phase II of the national competitive bid process for the Connect America Fund.  In those comments, NRECA has argued that electric cooperatives that are already exploring providing broadband service to rural areas should be able to qualify for available...

Telecom Company Wins Transmission Case

A North Carolina court ruled that pole attachment rates charged by Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation were in violation of a North Carolina statute, according to the Federal Communications Commission rate formula.  The issue revolves around the rates per pole that would be charged to telecom customers in the area.  Nearly 7,400 poles are at issue.  For more information, click...

Electric Coops Seek FCC Funding for Broadband Projects

More than 100 electric cooperatives, sparked by an initial inquiry by Michigan-based Midwest Energy, have filed an “expression of interest” with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), indicating that they are interested in receiving aid through the Connect America Fund to build broadband projects in their communities.  Seventy-three percent of the 20 million Americans without...

Coop Industry Groups Seek Notice to Protect Critical Communication Systems

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Utilities Telecom Council, the American Public Power Association and the Edison Electric Institute have asked the Federal Communications Commission to require a 30-day advance notice period when a high-tech company deploys products or services that could disrupt a utility’s critical communication systems.  Progeny, a high-tech...

NRECA Asks FCC to Rethink Waivers for Technology

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has voiced concerns that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to allow the use of certain broadcast technology may be premature given the potential for interference in the operation of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, given the key role that SCADA systems play in the management of...